Iowa Caucus Results: Cruz wins, Ethanol Mandate Loses

The only major candidate, Democrat or Republican, to call for an end to the contentious ethanol mandate won the Republican caucus, clearly beating Donald Trump. That could doom what many even in Iowa, among even some farmers, call a boondoggle.

February 3, 2016, 9:00 AM PST

By Irvin Dawid

This is not your grandfather's Iowa, demographically speaking. While many have pointed to the Hawkeye State's lack of racial diversity, one change that escaped many in the media is its urbanization, and that means that the ethanol mandate, a requirement that biofuel be mixed into gasoline, is not of paramount importance, to the chagrin of the governor

"It would be a big mistake for Iowa to support [Sen. Ted Cruz]," [Gov. Terry Branstad (R)] told reporters at a forum held by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, writes Coral Davenport, climate and energy reporter for The New York Times.

Energy policy experts, advocates in the fight on poverty and even other farmers say a law that has been a boon for Iowa has been a boondoggle to the rest of the country.

“Culturally, anything that supports corn is seen as good,” said Bruce Babcock, an economist at Iowa State University, pondering whether ethanol’s grip here was slipping. “But if Ted Cruz wins the caucus, there’s your answer.”

The article appeared in Monday's paper, the day the caucus was held. "With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Cruz had nearly 28 percent of the vote, Mr. Trump 24 percent and Mr. Rubio 23 percent," reports The New York Times on Tuesday.

"When the Renewable Fuel Standard (aka ethanol mandate) was enacted [in 2005], lawmakers hoped to ease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil while promoting a low-carbon, climate-friendly alternative," writes Davenport.

That leaves only the environmental argument for the mandate. However, because of its implementation, carbon emissions are not being reduced as they would be if operated under a performance-based approach, as Margo Oge explained in a New York Times op-ed posted here Monday.  

Ethanol has flourished without being subsidized for over four years. Can it survive without a mandate?

Monday, February 1, 2016 in The New York Times - Politics

Stylized rendering of the Midwest Regional Rail Network

Federal Railroad Administration Proposes New Midwest Rail Network

If built, regional high-speed rail networks could provide an alternative to uncomfortable air travel and prevent travelers from becoming stranded at airports during extreme weather.

January 17, 2022 - The Urbanist

Tysons Corner

Rethinking Retail Space in the Wake of COVID-19

As e-commerce boomed and people sought outdoor shopping and dining options, the pandemic accelerated the decline of massive, merchandise-oriented retail spaces and indoor malls.

January 12, 2022 - Bisnow


'15-Minute City' To Be Built in Utah

A community that focuses on reducing the need for car ownership and providing effective multimodal transportation and diverse land uses will be built from scratch on the site of the decommissioned Utah State Prison.

January 19, 2022 - Streetsblog USA

San Diego Trolley car

Report: San Diego Trolley Extension Cost Double the Average for U.S. Light Rail

Experts attribute the high cost of the project to local opposition and call on state and federal leaders to give transportation agencies more authority over local jurisdictions.

40 minutes ago - San Diego Union-Tribune

A woman wears a mask during the Covid-19 pandemic in a large crowd at a transit station in New York City.

After Omicron

Don't count on Omicron ending the pandemic, cautioned America's top infectious disease expert on Jan. 17. "Get ready to learn new Greek letters," warned the Associated Press as daily COVID deaths topped the peak set in the Delta wave.

1 hour ago - New York Post


Austin Mayor Proposes New Bond To Address Housing Crisis

Mayor Steve Adler is developing a proposal to sell up to $500 million in bonds for affordable housing as the city's housing costs continue to soar and demand for housing remains at a historic high.

2 hours ago - Bloomberg Markets

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Case Study posted on HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.